Psalm 64

Psalm 64


To the leader.A A PsalmB of David.C

Notes on superscript

A “leader” = natsach. Properly, something that glitters from a distance. So, something that stands out, excels, has status/standing (such as a chief musician or superintendent of Temple services). This can also mean to be permanent or enduring.
B “psalm” = mizmor. From zamar (making music; used specially of music to worship God; music with singing, singing praise, singing psalms); may be from zamar (to trim or prune). This is a melody or a psalm.
C “David” = David. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”

HearD my voice,E O God,F in my complaint;G

Notes on verse 1a

D “hear” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
E “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
F “God” = Elohim.
G “complaint” = siach. 13x in OT. Perhaps from siyach (to muse, meditate, complain, sing, sigh, speak, or utter). This is a musing, concern, communication, or prayer.

    preserveH my lifeI from the dreadJ enemy.K

Notes on verse 1b

H “preserve” = natsar. This is to watch, guard, protect. It can be positive – preserve or obey. It can be negative as conceal.
I “life” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
J “dread” = pachad. From pachad (to dread, be afraid, thrill, be in awe; feeling startled from a sudden sound or alarm). This is dread, fear, awe, panic. It can also refer to what someone fears or dreads.
K “enemy” = oyeb. From ayab (to hate or be hostile to). This is a foe or enemy as one that you are hostile to.

HideL me from the secret plotsM of the wicked,N
    from the schemingO of evildoers,P

Notes on verse 2

L “hide” = sathar. This is hide, conceal, or be absent. It is hiding because something is covered – used in a literal or figurative sense.
M “secret plots” = sod. Perhaps from yasad (to establish, appoint, instruct; to set in a literal or figurative sense; also, to sit down together and so to consult or take counsel). This is a session, counsel, or assembly. It can also mean a consultation.
N “wicked” = ra’a’. This is to be evil, bad, afflict. Properly, it means to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces. Figuratively, it is to cause something to be worthless. It is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense – something that displeases, does harm or mischief, punishes or vexes.
O “scheming” = regesh. 2x in OT. From ragash (to be in an uproar, in tumult, to rage). This is a crowd that is in an uproar – a throng or an insurrection.
P “evildoers” = paal + aven. Literally “workers of iniquity.” Paal is to do, make, work, or accomplish. Generally refers to regularly repeated or systematic action – so, to practice. Aven – root may mean panting as one does when expending a lot of energy, especially when it comes to nothing. This is nothingness, trouble, sorrow, distress, wickedness, evil, harm, sorrow, misfortune, and mischief. It is also used specifically to refer to idols.

who whetQ their tonguesR like swords,S

Notes on verse 3a

Q “whet” = shanan. 9x in OT– including Deuteronomy 6:7 “recite them to your children.” This is to pierce, sharpen, or whet. It is often used for sharp arrows or being pricked in the heart. Figuratively, it can mean to teach diligently.
R “tongues” = lashon. This is tongue, talker, language, or wedge. It can also be a tongue of flame or a water cove.
S “swords” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.

    who aimT bitterU wordsV like arrows,W

Notes on verse 3b

T “aim” = darak. This is to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process. So, also an archer.
U “bitter” = mar. From marar (to be bitter, embittered, weep, troubled). This is bitterness literal or figurative. It could be fierce, angry, or discontented.
V “words” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
W “arrows” = chets. From chatsats (to divide, chop, pierce, distribute, shoot an arrow, an archer). This is an arrow or archer, shaft, staff. Properly, it is someone or something that pierces, such as an arrow. It can imply a wound. Used figuratively of God’s thunder bolt.

shootingX from ambushY at the blameless;Z
    they shoot suddenly and without fear.AA

Notes on verse 4

X “shooting” = yarah. This is to throw, shoot, be stunned. It is to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach. This is the same root that “Jerusalem” and “Torah” draw from.
Y “ambush” = mistar. Related to “hide” in v2. 10x in OT. From sathar (see note L above). This is a secret or a hiding place. Properly, it is something or somewhere that conceals like a covert.
Z “blameless” = tam. 14x in OT. From tamam (to finish or accomplish; to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright; consume; to complete in a literal or figurative sense). This is complete, integrity, peaceful, perfect, blameless person, undefiled, upright. This is complete, generally from a moral perspective. It can be gentle or dear.
AA “fear” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.

They hold fastBB to their evilCC purpose;DD

Notes on verse 5a

BB “hold fast” = chazaq. This is to strengthen, seize, be courageous, repair, bind, heal, conquer, harden.
CC “evil” = ra’. Related to “wicked” in v2. From ra’a’ (see note N above). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
DD “purpose” = dabar. Same as “words” in v3. See note V above.

    they talk of layingEE snaresFF secretly,GG

Notes on verse 5b

EE “laying” = taman. This is to hide, bury, keep in reserve. It is hiding something by covering it.
FF “snares” = moqesh. From yaqosh (ensnare, lay bait, lure, trapper; to snare literally or figuratively). This is bait, barb, snare, trap; a noose or hook to trap animals in a literal or figurative sense.
GG “talk…secretly” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.

thinking, “Who can seeHH us?
    Who can search outII our crimes?JJ
We have thought outKK a cunninglyLL conceived plot.”MM

Notes on verses 5c-6a

HH “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
II “search out” = chaphas. This is to seek. In a causative sense, it can mean to hide or disguise oneself.
JJ “crimes” = evel. Perhaps from aval (to deal unjustly, act in a wrongful way, a wrongdoer). This is injustice, wrong, moral evil, acts of violence, or unrighteousness.
KK “thought out” = tamam. Related to “blameless” in v4. See note Z above.
LL “cunningly” = chephes. Related to “search out” in v6. 1x in OT. From chaphas (see note II above). This is something hidden like a device, plot, trick, or search.
MM “conceived plot” = chaphas. Same as “search out” in v6. See note II above.

    For the humanNN heartOO and mindPP are deep.QQ

Notes on verse 6b

NN “human” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
OO “heart” = leb. May be related to labab (to encourage; properly, to be encased as with fat; used in a good sense, this means to transport someone with love; used in a bad sense, it can mean to dull one’s senses). This is the heart, courage, one’s inner self, the mind, or the will. Heart is only used in a figurative sense in the Old and New Testaments.
PP “mind” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
QQ “deep” = amoq. 17x in OT. From amoq (to be deep in a literal or figurative sense; profound). This is deep, mystery, something that is deep. It is deep in a literal or a figurative sense.

7 But God will shoot his arrow at them;
    they will beRR woundedSS suddenly.
Because of their tongue he will bring them to ruin;TT
    all who see them will shake with horror.UU

Notes on verses 7-8

RR “be” = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
SS “wounded” = makkah. From nakah (to hit whether lightly or severely literal or figurative; beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter). This is a wound, injury, blow. Figuratively, it could be disaster, slaughter, or pestilence.
TT “bring…to ruin” = kashal. This is to stumble, fail, be weak or decayed, be overthrown, to totter. It can refer to weak legs or ankles so it is falter, faint, or fall.
UU “shake with horror” = nadad. This is to wave back and forth. Figuratively, it is to flee, stray, flutter chase away, shake, or shrink. It can also refer to a fugitive.

Then everyoneVV will fear;
    they will tellWW what God has brought about,XX
    and ponderYY what he has done.ZZ

Notes on verse 9

VV “everyone” = kol + adam. Literally “every human.” Adam is perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
WW “tell” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
XX “what…has brought about” = poal. Related to “evildoers” in v2. From paal (see note P above). This is an action or deed, conduct. It is the act of working or the work itself. It can also be wages or maker.
YY “ponder” = sakal. This is to consider or be prudent and so it can mean to instruct or be an expert. It can also mean dealing prudently, which implies success and prospering. This verb presumes intelligence of the subject. In one form of the verb, it can mean laying cross-wise.
ZZ “what…has done” = maaseh. From asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is a word – any action whether positive or negative. It can also be a transaction, construction, activity, property, or something that is produced.

10 Let the righteousAAA rejoiceBBB in the LordCCC

Notes on verse 10a

AAA “righteous” = tsaddiq. From the same as tsedeq (rightness, righteousness, just cause, vindication; that which is right in a natural, moral, or legal sense; abstractly equity; figuratively prosperity). This is just, innocent, righteous, righteous one, or lawful.
BBB “rejoice” = samach. This is to rejoice or be glad. Properly, it is to brighten up in a literal or figurative sense.
CCC “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “be” in v7. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note RR above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

    and take refugeDDD in him.
Let all the uprightEEE in heart glory.FFF

Notes on verse 10b

DDD “take refuge” = chasah. This is to take refuge or flee for protection. Figuratively, it means to hope or trust in someone or something.
EEE “upright” = yashar. From yashar (to be straight, right, even, smooth, or agreeable; figuratively, to make something pleasant or prosperous). This is straight, right, level. Also, it is pleasing, whether pleasing God or pleasing other people. So, it is upright or righteous.
FFF “glory” = halal. This is to be clear – it originally referred to a sound, then a color. It was to shine and then make a show or boast then to rave. In a causative sense it came to mean celebrate, give glory, sing praise, or be worth of praise. Because of the celebratory nature of the word, it could also mean to give in marriage. This is where Hallelujah comes from.

Image credit: “Oily Fright” by Eissa Moussa, 2015

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